SANParks Week 2016

In the celebration of spring and appreciation for our natural and cultural heritage, South African National Parks (SANParks) is opening its gates. SANParks will kick off its 11th annual week-long campaign that will allow South Africans free access to 21 national parks. You will have free access to a multitude of national parks between 12 and 16 September 2016. Some parks will be extending the week to include the weekend, to view these individual park dates, click here.

The initiative, which is limited to South Africans, will be applicable to all the national parks managed by SANParks, with exception of Boulders in Table Mountain National Park and Namaqua National Park. The idea was conceived back in 2006, after realising that a vast majority of South Africans were not accessing the national parks.

This year’s SANParks week will include exhibitions around the country at various key national parks which will represent different geographical regions of SANParks. The expositions will include cultural, conservation, nursey and tourism aspects form the community, rangers and various conservations entities in order to highlight the broader South African biodiversity landscape.

William Mabasa, acting head of communications, highlights that the objective of the week is to cultivate a culture of pride in all South Africans in their relationship with the country’s natural, cultural and historical heritage. He adds: “When people start to take pride in the national parks, then we believe that they will start to understand the importance of conservation”.

This initiative in partnership with Total SA and First National Bank (FNB) is in line with SANParks vision statement of “A sustainable National Park System connecting society.”

“Once again, we hope that through allowing free access to our National Parks, we will succeed in encouraging all South Africans, to visit the beautiful parks our country has to offer. At FNB we understand that we have a responsibility to conserve and protect the environment and as corporate South Africa we have prioritised the reduction of our carbon footprint through our daily operations,” says Kgosi Ledimo, CEO of FNB public sector banking.

Total SA’S general manager of sales and marketing, Qetello Zeka adds: “We are very pleased to once again be involved in this project. It is such a good initiative and one that will go far in helping to drive the message that we are all custodians of nature conservation and of our environment to the public.”

Free access will be granted to all South African day visitors carrying their official identity documents. Young persons under the age of 16 will be allowed free access without proof of identity. It should be noted that free access to the parks will not include accommodation and any other commercial activities in the park such as guided safaris in vehicles or guided walks, etc.

Day visitors are urged to book in advance in order to secure their entry in the park since daily quotas will be strictly enforced.

SANParks encourages all South Africans, especially educators and school groups to diarise these dates and plan visits the nearest national park.

For more information, click here